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Utah Regional: Tote-al Success!

posted Mar 23, 2015, 1:37 PM by Up-A-Creek Robotics   [ updated Mar 31, 2015, 11:14 AM ]


On a particularly sunny Wednesday afternoon, nearly 40 team members set off on an eight-hour drive, their bags packed with everything they would need to succeed at the Utah Regional: safety glasses, snacks, blue hats, team shirts, and (of course) boxes and boxes of Milk Duds. It was their second year taking a trip to their Western neighbor Utah, and upon their arrival in Salt Lake City, it was unclear whether any residual disorientation was due to the long car ride or the presence of mountains in all directions (and thus lack of Colorado's primary directional landmark). 

The Utah Regional was a tote-al success for Team 1619 this year. We built probably the most complex robot we ever have, taking the meaning of late nights at robotics to a whole new level to get everything done in time. This year, we switched programming languages from LabVIEW to Java, updated the electrical systems to the new RoboRIO system and switched to Talon SRXs, and programmed our own scouting app to make scouting for alliance members easier and more enjoyable. We were making improvements to the robot until the very end, but through everyone's stack-rifice of many hours of sleep, countless chute door splinters, and one unfortunately shredded pool noodle, we built one of the top robots at Utah. Our hard work paid off, as we won the Industrial Design Award for the first time, which celebrates form and function in an efficiently designed machine that effectively addressed the game challenge.

The competition in Utah was all that it was stacked up to be, and Up-A-Creek Robotics met the challenge with enthusiasm and spirit. Students dressed in blue and adorned with blue hats, ribbons, and dyed hair repaired the robot in the pits, cheered in the stands, and drove to victory. We seeded second overall after qualification matches and accepted the invitation to join Team 624 CRyptonite's alliance for the playoff matches. Together with CRyptonite and Team 4334 Alberta Tech Alliance, Up-A-Creek Robotics achieved another exciting first: winning a regional competition!  They were great alliance partners both on and off the field.  We also want to give a huge shout out to 2122, 3230, and 3405 for an exciting set of finals matches. You are all great teams with great students and mentors.

Our winning strategy saw ATA retrieving bins from the step, while CRyptonite and UACR furiously stacked and (yes,) chute door-ed. Our alliance stacked to victory, winning the Utah Regional after winning both of the first two finals matches. The achievement resulted in ecstatic cheers and screams from everyone on the team. After the awards ceremony, the team celebrated the victory with "bottomless" root beer floats at Red Robins, which we actually managed to find the bottom of, literally eating the restaurant out of ice cream before celebrations were over.

While the Utah regional was certainly a triumph, the season isn't over yet! We're currently busily working on further improvements for the robot to prepare for the Colorado Regional in March and the Championships in April. No matter how the totes stack, though, we're having fun and learning every day!
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